Chelsea boss Pochettino hails Thiago Silva's 'amazing career' ahead of Tottenham test

Veteran Brazil defender will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season

Chelsea's defensive stalwart Thiago Silva will leave the club this summer. Reuters
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Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino paid tribute to the "amazing career" of veteran defender Thiago Silva ahead of their London derby against rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night.

Silva, 39, has announced he will leave Stamford Bridge when his contract expires in the summer. The centre-back has played more than 800 games – including 151 for the Blues – in an illustrious career that has seen him collect silverware in his native Brazil with Fluminense, in Italy with AC Milan, in France with Paris Saint-Germain and latterly in England with Chelsea, including the Champions League in 2021.

"He is an amazing guy and an amazing professional," said Pochettino, whose side sit ninth in the table, five points outside the European places with a game in hand.

"We are not going to discover the type of player [again] that at nearly 40 years old is still playing like him, an amazing career.

"The players, the fans, the club is going to miss him. He is happy, he is so proud of his career here at Chelsea and other clubs. I only wish the best because he deserves the best."

Thursday's game sees Chelsea's Argentine coach go up against former club Spurs, where he remains a popular figure having led the team for five years between 2014 and 2019. His first clash against them – in the reverse fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in November – ended in a 4-1 victory for his new club, with Nicolas Jackson scoring a hat-trick and Cole Palmer converting a penalty.

"It was special when we played there [in November]. It was my first time since leaving the club, but now it is a different time," Pochettino added.

"It will be emotional coming up against people who I worked with for a long period. I can't hide my emotion for the club. I think it is going to be emotional because facing a former team, where the history was good, you remember that.

"But I have said before – across the 90 minutes we want to win and Tottenham are going to come here to try and win. It will be a good game."

Spurs, meanwhile, are desperate for three points to reignite their push for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification. A run of one win in four has seen them drop seven points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa, albeit with two games in hand.

There has been extra scrutiny on Spurs goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario in recent weeks with teams seeming to have figured out he struggles with in-swinging corners. Boss Ange Postecoglou, however, has denied they have a problem with defending set pieces.

“I’ve answered this question and I don’t think it satisfies people, but no I don’t see it as an issue," said the Australian, whose side were beaten 3-2 at home by Arsenal in the north London derby last weekend.

“It’s something that we work on along with everything in our game. There are far more important things that we need to concentrate on at the moment in terms of the team we’re building.

“I think people want to be believe, and it can be, that football is very prescriptive. You’ve got an illness, here’s the tablet and you feel better. I’ve never believed that.

“I’ve always been about trying to create an environment and a style of football that can win things. I’ve never worked in a prescriptive manner and I certainly won’t be doing it now.”

Tottenham will be without Ben Davies (calf) and Timo Werner (hamstring) for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

Both sustained injuries during the Arsenal defeat and will not play again this season, which could prove to be Werner’s final appearance, although Spurs do have the option to turn his loan from RB Leipzig into a permanent deal.

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Updated: May 01, 2024, 1:23 PM